Defiant Ukrainians flock to beaches despite continuing Russian threats

Over 100 days since Russia's most recent invasion of Ukraine, signs of normality are starting to appear through the smokes as Kyiv residents returned to the city's riverside beaches to enjoy sunny weather.

Russian troops retreated from Kyiv Oblast in early April and Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said yesterday (Thursday June 10) there was no danger of an attack on the capital.

However, he noted the situation could quickly change. Even still, the people of the capital relaxed on the sand, while others took a dip in the Dnieper river.

Their leisurely activities come despite ongoing bombardments at Kharkiv and Dnipro in the country’s north and centre.

Also, Russia’s navy is said to have 40 cruise missiles aimed at Ukraine and has warned of “increased attacks”.

But Sophia Misiac, 18, who fled Kyiv in February to escape an onslaught, said, via The Sun: “It feels incredible to be back.

"I missed Kyiv and my home so much.”

Her friend Sophia Alexeiyenko, 18, said: “I feel safe here now. It feels no different to before.”

However, elsewhere the situation is more bleak. In Odesa, in the country's south along the Black Sea, tourists have been replaced by mines.

Ominous man-sized mines pepper the coast, ready for a Russian amphibious assault.

The Ukrainian military has cordoned off the once popular beaches to ensure no one tampers with the weapons.

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Odesa's local economy has taken a huge hit as the southwestern Ukraine port city was shut down for business.

"We can't live without the sea. If not for the sea, there would probably be no Odesa," said 82-year-old resident Viktor Holchenko.

In early May, Russian forces attacked the city with missiles.

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"They (the military) said not to go there (to the seaside)," said 18-year-old resident Kyrylo Zinchenko, who used to be a driver before Odesa's tourism dried up.

"Why would you go there? This is the summer we will have."

Nataliia Humeniuk, a spokeswoman of the southern military command, said she realized that the tourism business and recreational component was an important element, "but we also realize that if we don't hold the defense of our region, there will be no budget to fill."

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